Woke with a thought that had a sense of urgency attached to it. Simply this: the Bible tells us that we are to keep in step with the Spirit. The Bible does not say the Spirit will keep in step with us. Grace enables us to move with God as He leads us , it does not make us presume God will move with us as though we were in charge of Him.
It is possible for us to miss moments of opportunity by presuming they will come around again. Blind Bartimaeus was given a window of opportunity to cry out to Jesus. He took it with gusto and was healed. Jesus never came that way again.
These thoughts are not shared to panic you, but to remind us of the need to be humble, meek and alert. I look back and see moments of opportunity that I let pass and they never came again. I find that a fearful thought, but let me remind you that fear of the Lord is good, it is the beginning of wisdom. Be alert to God. He is God, you and I are not. To borrow a thought from Dr. R.T. Kendall, adjust to The Dove and don’t presume that The Dove will adjust to you. Keep in step with the Spirit today. Move at His pace and in His diretion,not your pace in your direction, or even your pace in His direction. It does worry me a bit, that some of the stuff I see posted online sounds very nice and is said with great authority and conviction and sincerity but has not one shred of biblical backing and yet thousands “like” these things!
I don’t judge anyone’s heart but sometimes when I hear some preaching which squares with nothing in the Bible, I wonder if the person preaching has ever really met with Almighty God as He is rather than a God they have constructed according to their own life story or constructed according to their own image or their own needs. The true God is the God who has revealed Himself through creation, through conscience (though conscience is not always reliable for our conscience can be seared), but supremely through the Biblical events and writings surrounding the Jewish race and in and through the Lord Jesus Christ and His personally appointed Apostles rather than any Apostles who came after them but who may carry that title and gifting. That revelation must be the standard by which I judge everything I say about God if I teach in His Name and everything I hear as I listen and every spiritual experience. To speak about God is an awesome responsibility. Basically, the heresy of the day seems to be it is all about me and God accomodating Himself to me for my needs sake. Well, He has indeed accommodated Himself to us. He became a human being. He cares and understands human needs and can indeed say to us as to Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” Remember though, He is the Lord and you and I are not! So much that I see and hear these days seems to have no regard for the Sovereignty of God: God has to hang around making no demands upon us; He must always tell us we are in the right and is not allowed to tell us when we are in the wrong.
It may be we have to wait a generation before the wrong emphasis dies out, which is sad, but it may be realistic, given the hold of all the lovely soft and squidgy marshmallow me-centred theology and preaching and an emphasis on creating atmosphere and the emotional release all of that can bring – which is actually quite a good thing, but does not necessarily mean that anything worthwhile has happened spiritually. Reading the Bible does not guarantee we will keep in step with the Spirit, but we can’t keep in step with the Spirit without the Bible’s truth. Remember the Holy Spirit is not the only spirit around. It is possible to listen to a spirit other than the Holy Spirit and be content with a spirituality that other spirit may offer to us. Please don’t replace your own responsibility to learn what God’s Word teaches and settle for spoon feeding by those who may or may not be good teachers of the Word of God. Billy Graham’s ministry changed lives because he could say with great conviction, “The Bible says…” My life was impacted in the days leading up to my conversion because leaders at an S.U camp told me bible verses I had never read or heard before. I heard them for what they were. The words seemed to carry unquestionable power and authority as I heard them. I received them for what they seemed unquestionably to me to be, the Word of God. For me, as I listened it was a bit like what happened to Lydia as she listened to Paul: The Lord simply “opened my heart” to the words I was listening to. I received them “with power and in the Holy Spirit and with much assurance.” I remember them to this day. It was wonderful to hear from one of my congregation of more young lives being deeply impacted at S.U. camps this year.
Sadly one can listen to many preachers in the liberal wing of the church but also in the charismatic/evangelical sectors too at the moment and actually in a whole talk they never refer to the bible but just to their own beliefs and home spun ideas about God or God’s Kingdom. Yet such teaching is often given more authority than the bible. They are their own authority for what they say, which is exceedingly dangerous ground. The bible tells us that not many should desire to become teachers, because teachers will be judged more severely than others. A teaching gifting which becomes a role in the church is something that according to the bible requires hard study so that the word of truth is correctly divided for people. Let me ask you: do you remember a single bible verse from last Sunday at church, or a gimmick, an atmosphere a story and a soundbite? I was really blessed to be at Holy Trinity, Wester Hailes, yesterday (Sunday) to hear Rev. Shirley Fraser preach and teach the Word of God. Today I am remembering what she so wonderfully and clearly taught and helped us to apply to living from the Sermon on The Mount, but I am remembering too the very words of Christ that Shirley’s teaching was based upon. Thank you Shirley! Your faithfulness to the text of the Bible will help me and others to keep in step with the Spirit in the days of this week and beyond.
Keep in step with the Spirit. I hope and pray that I do too.
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